These historical articles are courtesy Mahaska County Historical Society President John Jacobs.
Jan. 1, 1874
To Make Boys Good Farmers.
The American Agriculturist says: Induce them to take an interest in the farm, in the implements, in the stock; tell them all your plans, your successes and failures, give them a history of your life and what you did, and how you lived when a boy, but do not harp much on the degenerate character of young men of the present age; praise them when you can and encourage them to do still better. Let them dress up in the evening instead of sitting down in their dirty clothes in a dirty room. Provide plenty of light. Thanks to kerosene, our country homes can be as brilliantly lighted as the gas-lit residence in the city.
Encourage the neighbors to drop in evenings. Talk agriculture rather than politics; speak of the importance of large crops, of good stock, of liberal feeding and of the advantage of making animals comfortable, rather than of hard times, low prices and high wages. Above all encourage the boys to read good agricultural books. Papers are well enough but an intelligent boy wants something more. Get some good agricultural book to study. Read it with him and give him the benefit of your experience and criticism. When he has mastered this give him another. In our case we owe our love for farming principally to the fact that our father told us everything he was doing on the farm, answering all the questions, and encouraging rather than refusing our child-like desire of helping him to plow, to chop, to let off water and fire the brush heap.